According to the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, broilermeat production in 2007 is forecast to rise by almost 2.4% to around 64.4 million tonnes (mt).

The revised forecast for broiler output in the USA last year points to a tiny increase over the year. For 2008, it is anticipated that growth will return to the norm of a little under 3% to exceed 16.5mt.

Production in China is expected to expand by around 500,000t (4.6%) to reach 11.4mt, while a similar volume gain is foreseen in Brazil where output could climb to more than 10.5mt. Production in Japan can best be described as ‘flat’ at around 1.2mt per year and although the trend is upward in Thailand, output this year is unlikely to exceed 2003’s 1.34mt.

A small gain is forecast for the EU of 27 countries but at 8.1mt, the combined total still lags behind the 2005 level. Russia’s industry continues to recover with the 2008 figure predicted to be more than two and a half times that recorded in 2003.

Whereas Mexico’s industry looks likely to show steady growth to top 2.72mt, production in India continues to expand apace with the 2008 forecast of 2.4mt showing a 9% rise on the year. In 2008, Argentina looks likely to produce double the quantity noted five years earlier.

Exports to grow

After a cutback in 2006 – mainly due to import bans on broilermeat shipments from countries with avian influenza – the final trade data for 2007 is expected to show a 12% recovery to a little under 7.2mt, while this year’s forecast points to a further increase by around 4% at around 7.5mt. “Higher exports tend to reflect a stronger demand globally as income growth supports increased consumption,” states the report.

Exports from, Brazil and the United States, which account for some 75% of the global total, are expected to rise by 7% and 2%, respectively. For Brazil, the total will top 3mt for the first time, almost 600,000t more than US broiler shipments.

Exports from China will likely come close to 400,000t for 2007, and Thailand’s slow but steady recovery is expected to continue to around 320,000t from the disastrous 2004 when they slumped to only 200,000t from the previous year’s 485,000t.

Of note is how Argentina is becoming a key player in this business with annual exports this year in the region of 155,000t, which contrast markedly with just 39,000t back in 2003.

Imports to China rising

On the import side of the trade balance sheet, Russia’s purchases are not expected to change over the average of 1.18mt of the past two years as a result of an increase in the minimum import price, which is applied mainly to imports from Brazil and the USA. These two account for 90% of the total.

The forecast of a 9% increase in China’s purchases reflects to a great extent the relationship between broiler and pork prices in that country. Pork and poultry are largely substitutable depending on relative supplies and prices. Continued tight supplies of domestic pork are expected to provide opportunities to expand poultry imports. Furthermore, the demand for poultry will be strengthened by the influx of tourists for the Olympics.

While total broiler imports into Japan are not expected to change greatly from around 680,000t, there has been a marked switch in the sourcing. Japanese buyers are turning away from Brazilian boneless leg meat to cheaper Chinese prepared products, particularly the charcoal-grilled yakitori.

Similarly, although total imports into the European Union are expected to be similar to last year, the report points out that, under new tariff rate quotas (TRQs) for salted poultry from Brazil introduced late in 2007, EU purchases from this source will likely be limited.

The per capita consumption figures underline how poultry has become increasingly popular in nearly all the selected countries. In the few instances where there has been little movement in annual per capita uptake, it must be appreciated that although the poultrymeat industry has grown, it has only just kept pace with population growth.

It must be borne in mind that certain errors are inevitable in the compilation of available supplies and that population numbers are estimated. As a result, annual per capita uptake figures should not be taken too literally and are best looked at as indicating trends.

Table 1: Broilermeat production in selected countries

Table 2: Broilermeat exports from selected countries

Table 3: Poultrymeat consumption in selected countries